(500) Days of Summer, 2009
visit the film locations
Los Angeles: Flights: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Visit: Broadway Bar, 830 South Broadway between West Eighth and West Ninth Streets, downtown
Visit: the Redwood Bar & Grill, 316 West Second Street, next to the Civic Center Red Line Metro Stop, downtown
Visit: the Bradbury Building, 304 South Broadway at Third Street
Visit: the Point Fermin Lighthouse, 807 West Paseo Del Marin, San Pedro (tel: 310.241.0684)
The Bradbury Building can also be seen in 1949 Douglas Sirk drama Shockproof; Frank Tashlin’s Richard Harris-Doris Day comedy thriller Caprice (as Paris); Murder in the First, with Christian Slater (as San Francisco); and Mike Nichols’ Wolf , with Jack Nicholson turning into a werewolf, (as New York).
(500) Days of Summer location: Tom’s favourite place: the bench at Angel’s Knoll, overlooking downtown Los Angeles
Marc Webb’s endearingly quirky non-romance is filmed largely around the untouristy downtown district of Los Angeles – not the familiar screen LA of Hollywood bungalows or South Central 'hoods. Yet ironically, this unfamiliar look at the city uses some very familiar locations. It’s rather like watching a slew of dependable character actors suddenly elevated to starring roles.
(500) Days of Summer location: Tom’s apartment: the Canadian Building, 432 South Main Street, downtown Los Angeles
For instance, the stretch of Main Street between Fourth and Fifth Streets is a frequent backdrop to action sequences – though it’s often passed off as ‘New York’.
It’s here you can find the apartment of sadly lovestruck Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), in the Canadian Building, 432 South Main Street at Winston Street. You might recognise the block as the site of ‘Joppy’s bar’, where Easy Rawlins (Denzel Washington) hangsout in Carl Franklin’s excellent 1995 neo noir Devil In A Blue Dress.
Right across Main Street, the store where Summer reveals her fondness for Ringo Starr, and the couple rents Sweet and Shower from the ‘adult section’, is the Farmers and Merchants Bank Building, Main and Fourth Streets.
(500) Days of Summer location: Tom and the guys hang out in the ‘coffee bar’: Barclay Hotel, Fourth and Main Street, downtown Los Angeles
On the opposite corner, the Barclay Hotel,103 West Fourth Street, was transformed into the coffee bar in which Tom and his mates hang out. You’ve probably seen the Barclay dozens of times without noticing – remember the ‘New York’ meteor shower at the beginning of Armageddon? the monster stomping past it in Godzilla? Or the ‘Manhattan’ cafe where Jack Nicholson annoys Helen Hunt in As Good As It Gets?
(500) Days of Summer location: Summer’s apartment building: the Barclay, Normandie Avenue, Koreatown, Los Angeles
Just to confuse things, the apartment of Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) is also a Barclay, although in Koreatown, midtown Los Angeles. It’s the Barclay, 706 South Normandie at West 7th Street, just south of Wilshire Boulevard.
Alongside Main Street runs Spring Street. The ‘New Hampshire Greeting Card Company’, where Tom writes profound verses for a living, is the Fenton Building, 833 South Spring Street, between Eighth and Ninth Streets – which, in the interests of economy was also used for the interior of Tom’s apartment. In the Thirties, the building housed a ‘taxi dance’ hall (“Ten cents a dance”) called the Roseland Roof.
The karaoke bar in which Summer sings Sugartown is the Redwood Bar & Grill, 316 West Second Street, west of South Broadway, downtown. Once a watering hole for local journalists – as well as John F. Kennedy and a young Richard Nixon, the venue has recently expanded into a proper restaurant. The Redwood serves as a ‘Milwaukee’ bar in Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids.
(500) Days of Summer location: the fountain springs to life: Arthur J Will Memorial Fountain, Civic Center Mall, downtown Los Angeles
Photograph: flickr/jericl cat
The day after Tom and Summer spend the night together sees Tom leading a rapturous dance routine in LA’s spanking new Civic Center Mall, running between Hill Street and Grand Street, linking Bunker Hill to the Civic Center. Bursting into life is the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain.
(500) Days of Summer location: Tom shows off the downtown architecture: the Fine Arts Building, West Seventh Street, downtown Los Angeles
In downtown Los Angeles, Tom wisely advises Summer to “look up”. Above the bustle of markets and discount stores, the historic heart of the old city stands some glorious, if often decayed, architecture from its heyday in the Twenties.
Among his favourite buildings, Tom points out the 1925 Fine Arts Building, 811 West Seventh Street at Wilshire Boulevard. Remember this place as the ‘Swiss Embassy’ in the 1997 fantasy Spawn, with Michael Jai White and John Leguizamo? No? Well it was. Trust me.
(500) Days of Summer location: Tom shows off the downtown architecture: the Eastern Columbia Building, South Broadway, downtown Los Angeles
(500) Days of Summer location: Tom’s favourite place: the plaque on the bench at Angel’s Knol
Tom’s favourite spot, with the bench, is Angel’s Knoll, a small green space overlooking downtown LA and the old Angel’s Flight railway, entered at the corner of West Fourth Street and Olive Street. There are a few benches, so look for the one which bears a plaque commemorating the park’s place in cinema history.
(500) Days of Summer location: Tom springs to Summer’s defence: the Broadway Bar, 830 South Broadway, downtown Los Angeles
The bar in which Tom springs to Summer’s defence and gets a smack in the face for his troubles, is the Broadway Bar, 830 South Broadway between West Eighth and West Ninth Streets – alongside the famous Orpheum Theatre (itself a screen regular). A single punch, though, seems to be getting off lightly, compared with the squabble that the Transformers get into immediately outside the Broadway Bar.
(500) Days of Summer location: the wedding: Point Fermin Lighthouse, San Pedro
Photograph: iStockphoto/John Mulligan
Tom appears to travel by train up the coast to attend Millie’s wedding. In fact, the nuptials are celebrated at the Point Fermin Lighthouse, 807 West Paseo Del Marin, San Pedro, south of the city. Built in 1874, the Victorian-style Lighthouse was the first navigational light into San Pedro Bay and its light beamed until the blackout ordered after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The lantern was removed during WWII, but in recent years, the lighthouse has been restored, and on November 1, 2003, was opened to the public.
(500) Days Of Summer location: watching Vagiant: Million Dollar Theater, 307 South Broadway, downtown Los Angeles
Tom and Summer watch Vagiant ("Half vampire! Half giant!") at the Million Dollar Theater, 307 South Broadway.
(500) Days of Summer location: Tom’s job interview: Bradbury Building, 304 South Broadway, downtown Los Angeles
Directly opposite the theater stands the wonderful Bradbury Building, 304 South Broadway. This is the office at which Tom attends the job interview at the end of the film. Its elegant interior is famous from Blade Runner, among many other films.
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